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This is Ridiculous by Archosaurian This is Ridiculous by Archosaurian
Here we have four dromĉosaurid skulls, and all except for the top and bottom ones belong to their own genus. They come from almost the same time and place and the differences between them are no greater than infrageneric differences in many other taxa, *and* recent cladistic studies place them all in the same clade, so why don't we just say that clade is the genus and be done with all these extra names (and rather stupid sounding names at that, one follows the formula place-name-raptor, the other is a post-modern Norrell name where the species name only makes sense when paired up with the name of the genus for which it is the type).
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Jeda45 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014
In the description of Acheroraptor, Evans et al. found osmolskae to group with Tsaagan mangas/Linheraptor exquisitus and Adasaurus mongoliensis. Admittedly, this is with the Currie dromaeosaur matrix, which is the only one I've seen to group Saurornitholestes, Atrociraptor, and Deinonychus outside of Dromaeosaurinae or Velociraptorinae, but it is the only analysis I've seen to include osmolskae. Admittedly a non-expert here, but given the usual assumption of Bayan Mandahu and Djadochta having different species within the same genus, and the relative unlikelihood of contemporaneous congeneric species in the same location, we could end up having four named Campanian-Maastrichtian velociraptorine species from Mongolia/Nei Mongol, in three genera: Velociraptor mongoliensis Osborn 1924, Tsaagan mangas Norell et al. 2006, Tsaagan osmolskae (Godefroit et al. 2008), and Adasaurus mongoliensis Barsbold 1983. exquisitus would be the junior synonym of one of the Tsaagan species.

Also, the only photo I've seen of Linheraptor exquisitus appears to be taken from a slightly ventrolateral angle, not a lateral one. I imagine in a properly lateral view the lacrimal wouldn't look as different and a bit more of the parietal would be showing. Since Senter thinks it isn't really distinguishable from Tsaagan mangas, I imagine it's the angle of the photo that makes it look so different.

I wouldn't risk making Tsaagan mangas  be V. mangas yet, since most analyses would require a plethora of species to be included in the genus, Cau's megamatrix in particular, as psilator said.

(Also, I think that Dromaeosauridae is possibly oversplit at the genus level--well, at least Velociraptorinae and Microraptoria, but definitely undersplit at the family level, at least by analogy with modern birds. Name one extant family of birds or mammals that lasted nearly as long as Dromaeosauridae and had such diversity in form and size. Heck, bird taxonomists would probably make Dromaeosauridae be three or four orders, not that I think that's the right idea.
Qilong Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
With Turner et al.'s recent monograph - here: [link] - there is now the (relatively strong?) suggestion that Linheraptor exqisitus is a junior synonym of Tsaagan mangas, but that the latter differs substantially enough from Velociraptor mongoliensis or osmolskae.
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Even though I find myself splitting more often than lumping, there's no denying these things ALL look like Velociraptor (well maybe except #2 with its thicker snout, but that one still smells like Velociraptor). Skulls #1 and #3 look practically identical, I'd put them in the same species in addition to the same genus! Go ahead and lump them, I won't be offended. After a while all the little notch-snouted raptors begin to look the same to me anyway.

But part of this is also my anti-theropod prejudices kicking in.

I find it ridiculous that theropod experts (specifically when it comes to the little birdy ones) make so many little hair-splitting distinctions between this raptor and that raptor, this parave and that parave, when so many of them look identical. And yet they have no problem with referring to Giraffatitan as "Brachiosaurus" brancai or with lumping Haplocanthosaurus into Suwassea or some other diplodocid. Paleontology as a whole has this problem, of splitting little birdy creatures known from plenty of complete, nearly identical slab-fossilized specimens into innumerable species and subgenera, but lumping far larger creatures together which have far more obvious differences between them on the basis of "ontogeny" or "regional variation". There's more variation between Sauroposeidon and Paluxysaurus for a single vertebra position than you see comparatively in the entire bodies of any two of these raptors! Yet in their infinite genius the various fan-radiated throngs of neo-Hornerite pseudo-mavericks go around lumping the amazingly huge and splitting the underwhelmingly small (and the bigger the dinosaur, the more room for variation and different morphologies in the specimen). It's no longer restricted to one person or school of colleagues, now it's like an epidemic that's raging out of control under many different names, the hypocritical splitting of anything little and fuzzy on the most minute of differences, and lumping of most things big and scaly on the basis of far scantier similarities. We have some folks at SVP trying to argue that Utahceratops is nothing more than a mature form of Kosmoceratops (and not being tactful about it either), meanwhile Maniraptoran species seem to be multiplying and fragmenting faster than evangelical church denimonations!

Seriously, when will folks decide how much of this kool-aid is enough? It's not a stretch to say that half of SVP would split Shaq and Danny DeVito into different genera if given the chance.
Kazuma27 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Frankly, i'd lump 'em all in Velociraptor and call it a day (not a fan either of over-splitting genera).
DaBrandonSphere Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Same here. Velociraptor is the genus everyone recognizes anyway.
DeinonychusEmpire Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm a bit of a lumper, myself.
GhostInThePines Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I like your way of thinking on this... there are so many animals that fall under the same genus despite major differences between species. It does seem stupid to separate dromaeosaurids into so many different genuses. I think the main obsticle to reworking any dinosaur names to reflect how living species are classified, though, is the fact that for many dinosaur species, the genus also stands in as the common name of the animal... this leads me to figure that species names get dropped a lot in conversations even of a professional nature. "Wildlifers" don't exactly have the same mix-up issues with scientific vs common name usage.
pilsator Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Beautiful work, Mike.

I'd say the point for them being non-congeneric is that they do not form a clade to the exclusion of all other dromaeosaurids in most analyses (i.e., all but Senter et al. (2012) and some glimpses at Andrea Cau's megamatrix). Intuitively, I'm at a loss for words how they could be parts of different lineages with some 70 million years of convergent evolution making them end up almost the same, but that's an argument from incredulity; the current Senter et al. and Cau matrices, being better sampled than earlier iterations, make a much better case for that.

Honestly, I've given up pretending that genera are real and that we should follow a crown bird- or mammal-like genericometer in non-avialan dinosaurs, but you just make me wish to do some lumping and splitting again :D
EmperorDinobot Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012
You know I agree that these are all Velociraptor.

Probably different subspecies, but Velociraptor.
ZEGH8578 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
Also, we're dealing with animals in a "4D" landscape, that is, the same place, but across time. It is obvious these are all very closely related, despite what differences they have, they show clear signs of being of "the same stock", which is precisely why distinct genera seem so redundant.
ZEGH8578 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
Distinct taxa, yes, but I must agree that these wouldn't cause any headaches by falling under Velociraptor. Probably less headaches than split up as separate genera...
Qilong Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
We musn't get caught up in the "what is a genus?" trap. It is difficult, if not impossible, to qualify taxonomic nomenclature relative to morphologic distinctiveness. Yes, we have Velociraptor mongoliensis, Tsaagan mangas, and Linheraptor exquisitus, and also Velociraptor osmolskae. There appears to be a substantive amount of the first taxon that doesn't fall within the variation suggested by the others, and some fundamental features that are not apparent in the illustration you note: e.g., Tsaagan mangas differs on features of the braincase, for the most part, while the extent and position of features of the antorbital fossa appear to be stable between the taxa suggestive of diagnostic variation. Regardless of what we name these things, they appear to be distinct taxa.
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